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What is the 401(k), how much is the maximum income and what are the contribution limits in 2024?

Get all the important information you need to know about the 401(k) in 2024 along with a side note on IRA.

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Retirement planning is an essential aspect of financial security, and understanding the 401(k) plan is crucial for maximizing your retirement savings. Let’s delve into what a 401(k) is, the maximum income considerations, and the contribution limits that apply.

What is a 401(k)?

A 401(k) is an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan that offers tax advantages to participants. On the other hand, An IRA (Individual Retirement Account) is a type of savings account designed for retirement savings. It provides tax benefits that help individuals save for their retirement goals. 

Named after a section of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, a 401(k) allows employees to save and invest a portion of their paycheck before taxes are taken out. Contributions are typically matched by employers to some extent, and these plans come in two types: traditional and Roth.

Traditional vs. Roth 401(k)

  • Traditional 401(k): Contributions are made with pre-tax dollars, which can lower your taxable income. Taxes are paid when you withdraw funds during retirement.
  • Roth 401(k): Contributions are made with after-tax dollars. While there’s no upfront tax deduction, qualified distributions, including earnings, are tax-free.

Maximum income for 401(k) contributions

In 2024, the IRS has set the compensation limit for 401(k) contributions to $345,000. This means that any income above this threshold will not be considered for employer matching contributions. However, individuals earning more than this limit can still contribute up to the maximum allowable employee deferral amount.

Contribution limits for 2024

The contribution limits for 401(k) plans are subject to annual adjustments based on Cost-Of-Living changes. For 2024, the limits are as follows:

  • Employee contribution limit: The maximum amount an employee can contribute to their 401(k) is $23,000.
  • Catch-Up contributions: For those aged 50 and over, an additional catch-up contribution of $7,500 is allowed, bringing the total contribution limit to $30,500. Though the catch up contribution limits for employees 50 years and older who participate in SIMPLE plans still remains $3500.
  • Overall contribution limit: The combined employee and employer contribution limit is $69,000 for 2024.

Phaseout ranges for taxpayers contributing to either a Traditional IRA or Roth IRA

The income ranges for determining eligibility to make deductible contributions to traditional Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), to contribute to Roth IRAs, experienced an increase this year.

These are the phase-out ranges for taxpayers contributing to either a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA in 2024:

Traditional IRA

  • Single taxpayers covered by a workplace retirement plan: $77,000 – $87,000
  • Married couples filing jointly (spouse making the IRA contribution is covered): $123,000 – $143,000
  • IRA contributor not covered but spouse is covered: $230,000 – $240,000
  • Married individual filing separately (covered): $0 – $10,000

Roth IRA

  • Singles and heads of household: $146,000 – $161,000
  • Married couples filing jointly: $230,000 – $240,000
  • Married individual filing separately: $0 – $10,000

Strategies for maximizing Your 401(k) and IRA

To make the most of your 401(k), consider the following strategies:

  • Start Early: The sooner you begin contributing, the more time your money has to grow through compounding interest.
  • Maximize Employer Match: Contribute at least enough to get the full employer match; it’s essentially free money.
  • Increase Contributions Over Time: As your income grows, increase your contributions to steadily build your retirement savings.
  • Diversify Investments: Choose a mix of investments to balance risk and potential returns.
  • Monitor and Adjust: Regularly review your 401(k) performance and adjust your investment choices as needed.

Understanding the 401(k) retirement savings plan

The 401(k) remains a powerful tool for retirement savings in 2024. With a clear understanding of the contribution limits and the impact of maximum income on employer matching, you can strategically plan your contributions to optimize your retirement benefits. Remember, the key to a comfortable retirement is planning, saving, and investing wisely.

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